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Good headphones to pair with tube amps

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty new to the whole audio obsession but nonetheless I am very curious about all the stuff. I have seen some post about tube amps and their benefits over solid state but I am curious as to what headphones pair well with tube amps and why they don't drive all headphones like they should?
post #2 of 7

I personally don't think there is any clear-cut, broad sweeping definition... or definitive list "these headphones go well with tube amps".  Because the sky is the limit when it comes to amp designs (be it tube or SS)... the circuit can be made/designed to sound any number of ways.

 

One things "fairly" certain, OTL amps perform poorly with very low impedance loads.  but even then, thats a generalization and there are exceptions.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
What is the OTL technology and why does it not work well with low impedance headphones?
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattjh90 View Post

I'm pretty new to the whole audio obsession but nonetheless I am very curious about all the stuff. I have seen some post about tube amps and their benefits over solid state but I am curious as to what headphones pair well with tube amps and why they don't drive all headphones like they should?

 

Heya,

 

High impedance headphones do well with tube amps. Specifically OTL (output transformer-less) tube amps (all tube). There are also hybrid tubes, which incorporate some solid state, and are suitable for low impedance. The reason is because OTL tube amps have higher output impedances and solid state has lower output impedance. You'll have to read in depth about how amplifiers generate voltage and current against a load and how output impedance and the impedance of the load interact. But to make a general statement, if the output impedance is higher, the impedance of the headphone will need to be much higher for it play together nicely. A low output impedance amplifier will not have this issue and is fine with any impedance headphone.

 

That said, and without knowing your budget, needs, preference, etc (hint hint), here's some basic suggestions:

 

Beyer DT880 250ohm & 600ohm

Beyer DT990 250ohm & 600ohm

Beyer T1

Sennheiser HD600

Sennheiser HD650

Sennheiser HD700

Sennheiser HD800

Fischer Audio FA-011

AKG K240 600ohm

AKG K501

 

As a tip, if you want to get the tube sound, without the limitation of an OTL tube amp and high impedance headphones, simply get a tube-dac. The Dac will have a tube based pre-amp out. Then hook up to any solid state amp. And any headphone.

 

Also, while waiting for replies, you should google some of these terms and read up a bit.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX - 1/15/13 at 1:43pm
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattjh90 View Post

I'm pretty new to the whole audio obsession but nonetheless I am very curious about all the stuff. I have seen some post about tube amps and their benefits over solid state but I am curious as to what headphones pair well with tube amps and why they don't drive all headphones like they should?

Might help to know what headphones you have been looking at?

Any budget?

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys for the responses. I did a little research on my own like you said MalVeauX. A tube amp is way in the future for me but i am enjoying reading up and learning about them. Eventually i want to get a sennheiser hd650 and look into hifi man headphones. I would love to hear what planar magnetic headphones sound like.

post #7 of 7

They sound good :P

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